... or nature raw, in beak and claw!
Picture, if you will, a Queensland house, sloping ground, high stumps at the
back, and a small verandah at the top of the back steps. Laundry, drying
area and workshop underneath. Shade-house for pot-plants extends either
side of the verandah.
I come out of my workshop to find a Grey Butcherbird behaving in peculiar
fashion: going round and round a pot-plant on the ground under the verandah
and pecking under the rim of the saucer it's standing on. I'm but two
metres from it, and being ignored.
I reckon I know what's going on. Butch has cornered one our dear little
fence lizards (a skink - Calyptotis scutirostrum) under the saucer. I shoo
the butcherbird away, but I can't stay on guard all day, and it will just
I lift the pot-plant and liz heads further under the house. I follow with
arms outstretched to herd it well under to safety. But we've only gone a
couple of metres when that rotten bird swoops under my arm, grabs our poor
little lizard and is gone!
And I had been thinking it was nice to have Grey Butcherbirds singing from
our palm-tree each morning.
Syd Curtis in Hawthorne (Brisbane)
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